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[Image: ©︎ Stephanie Quayle Photography: Osamu Sakamoto]

Stephanie Quayle "Animal Instinct"

Gallery 38


Stephanie Quayle
Gallery 38 is pleased to present “Animal Instinct,” a solo exhibition by Stephanie Quayle.

Stephanie Quayle’s life and art are inextricably bound to the Isle of Man, whose ancient civilization bears the strains of Irish, Anglo-Saxon, Viking, Norwegian, Scottish, and English influences. Born and raised on the island, she currently lives there on the family farm, raising sheep and cows with her parents and making her artwork in an old farm mill outbuilding. Some of the raw clay she uses to create her sculpture is dug out of the soil surrounding her home.

Quayle’s art is direct and immediate. Her clay slabs are scaled to forms that her fingers, hand, and arm can mold, throw, or stretch, leaving the marks of their making, and many of her sculptures are fired in a kiln on her farm. Her drawings, which she displays unframed in order to connect more directly with the viewer, begin as gestures made with clay stains, graphite powder, or ink wash and then further defined with strokes of a pen. She has referred to her drawing process as “More mindful, more in the moment, more animal.”

With this exhibition, Quayle continues her exploration of animal imagery as it has manifested over 40,000 years of human history, employing the same elemental materials that were used to make Neolithic pots and Greek vases. The animals she sculpts are not anthropomorphized but are instead rooted in myths and totems ― a thematic drive vividly demonstrated by the figure of the Minotaur alongside her more earthbound creatures.

Quayle’s new works include a bull, sacred to the Hindus, and the first piece she made out of clay and straw from the farm; a vulture, a scavenger signifying the cycles of the ecosystem, revered by Tibetans and Ancient Egyptians; a baboon, also revered, as well as feared, by the Egyptians; and a rat, hallowed in India but reviled just about everywhere else.

She has also created images of our closest genetic relative, the chimpanzee; as well as the wagtail, the bird sent by the creation gods of Japanese mythology to fertilize the earth; and the hare, the Celtic symbol of our relationship to the land, to the moon and the seasons, and to fables, myths, and madness.

The images Quayle creates, and her methods of making them, are meditations on what it means to be an animal, informed by the destructiveness of mankind and the encroaching disembodied threat of artificial intelligence. Rather than presuming to identify with animals, Quayle is instead asking what it is to be human and what underlies the hubris of our belief that we can elevate ourselves above nature. Her contemplation of animal instinct is her way of rediscovering our lost spiritual connection with the earth.


May 11 (Thu) 2023-Jun 25 (Sun) 2023 

Opening Hours Information

Monday, Tuesday, Holidays

Opening Reception May 11 (Thu) 2023 17:00 - 19:00

VenueGallery 38
Location101 Harajuku Homes, 2-30-28 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Access6 minute walk from exit 2 at Kitasando Station on the Fukutoshin line, 8 minute walk from the Takeshita exit of Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote line.
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